Daily Devotion for March 19, 2016
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The Cathedral Quartet gives us a peculiar lesson in skeletal anatomy, inspired by Ezekiel 37 .
Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely
Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.
A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
[Sharing what we have received.]
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
If your life is unselfish, if for others you live,
For not what you get, but for how much you can give;
If you live close to God in His infinite grace,
You don't have to tell it: It shows in your face.
1 John 3:18-24 (ESV)
Abiding in Christ
Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.
Notes on the Scripture
In a nutshell, John tells us: “Don't be a hypocrite and you won't feel guilty.” Only two people truly know us, ourselves and God; and we often hide the truth from ourselves. People spend a lot of mental energy convincing themselves that they have done nothing wrong when deep in their heart, they know better. And the opposite is also true: People continue to harbor guilt in their heart, even when they have been forgiven by the grace of Christ.
But really, that is backwards. If we have real faith in Christ's forgiveness, we will no longer need to deny our sin, because it ultimately will not destroy us. Only a lack of faith in Christ can destroy us, once we come under the umbrella of his grace. Faith destroys guilt. Faith destroys pridefulness. And when guilt and pride are destroyed, hypocrisy goes with it; because guilt and pride create hypocrisy.
The first sentence of today's Scripture defines a specific hypocrisy; loving others in your words but not in truth. For if we love in truth, our deeds will show our love. It is so easy to see hypocrisy in others, and so difficult to see it and root it out in ourselves! And yet Christ asked us why we point out the splinter in our neighbor's eye, when we should be trying to remove the beam from our own eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
But if we do this — if we love others truly, as shown in our deeds — we will know that we are of the truth. Even if we feel some guilt in our heart, God will send His spirit to remove the anxiety and guilt; we will have confidence before God, because we have kept His commandment. The aim of Christian life is to abide in God, which he has made possible by sending His Holy Spirit to be with us in our everyday lives.